Rising Rates Soften Loan Demand in Latest Week

Interest rates rose last week, prompting a sharp fall in applications for home mortgages, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday.

Loan applications dropped 9.2 percent in the week ending June 13, according to the MBA’s index of mortgage application activity. The MBA’s survey, which reflects 75 percent of the residential mortgage market, measures application demand for both refinancing and home purchases.

Broken out, applications for refinancing fell 12.7 percent last week. Applications for home purchases, viewed as a major indicator of future home purchases, dropped 4.7 percent, the MBA reports.

Mortgage rates were on the rise last week, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rising 2 basis points to 4.36 percent.

The decrease in applications this week comes after a report last week that showed mortgage applications for home purchases had reached a five-month high.

Source: “U.S. Mortgage Applications Drop in Latest Week: MBA,” Reuters (June 18, 2014)

Home Buyers May Face Sticker Shock This Spring

As the spring market heats up, more buyers are finding higher home prices than they may have expected, CNBC reports.

“People quite frankly came out and got sticker shock … they picked up the price sheet and saw, ‘Wow, that’s way more than I thought’ because home prices had gone up so much in 2013,” Brad Hunter, chief economist at Metrostudy, told CNBC.

Existing-home prices were up 9.1 percent in February above year ago levels, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Meanwhile, incomes are up just 2.1 percent from a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Home builders also have been raising their prices over the past year. For example, D.R. Horton, one of the nation’s largest builders, announced earlier this year that it planned to raise home prices in some of its markets this spring. In January, the builder said the average price of its homes under contract was up 10 percent in the past year.

Buyers also are facing rising mortgage rates and tighter credit conditions.

Still, while prices have been on the rise, home prices are well off their peak from the housing boom in 2006, housing experts note. Inventories remain constrained in many markets as some home owners wait for higher home prices before they list.

Source: “Homebuyers Face Spring Sticker Shock,” CNBC.com (April 4, 2014)

Mortgage Applications Fall as Rates Surge!

Mortgage applications for home purchases and refinancing continued to fall, dropping 11.5 percent last week, amid rising mortgage rates. Interest rates rose above 4 percent for the first time in a year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Applications for refinancings saw the largest declines, with applications falling 15 percent last week, the MBA reports. Meanwhile, applications for home purchases, an indicator for future home sales, fell 1.6 percent last week.

Many analysts blame the decreasing applications on rising mortgage rates. The fixed 30-year mortgage rate averaged 4.07 percent for the week ending May 31, its highest level since April 2012, the MBA reports. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke recently indicated that the Fed may soon scale back its bond purchase program, which has helped to keep mortgage rates near all-time record lows.

Source: “Mortgage applications drop as rates surge: MBA,” Reuters (June 5, 2013)